PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – An adult who enticed minor girls into sending him sexually explicit pictures of themselves by, among other things, pretending to be a teenager during on-line chats was sentenced Tuesday, November 2, 2021 to 25 years in federal prison and supervised release for life.
According to authorities, beginning in 2008, Dwight Castaldi, 45, communicated with at least six minor-aged girls, as young as 13, on a social networking websites. Castaldi told the girls he was a teenager and sent the victims pictures of an unknown young man, falsely claiming they were pictures of him. During chats, Castaldi told the minors that they were in exclusive relationships with him and convinced the minors to take sexually explicit pictures of themselves and send the images to him. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Castaldi’s Palm Beach Gardens home in 2018. They found several electronic devices containing hundreds of videos and photographs of child exploitation material and evidence of Castaldi communicating with others about the illegal material.
Castaldi previously pled guilty to production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, and online enticement of minors. U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith, who sits in Ft. Lauderdale, imposed the sentence. U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro, FBI Miami, announced the sentence. FBI Miami investigated the case, together with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and Huntington Beach California Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Schiller prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about the Project Safe Childhood initiative and for information regarding Internet safety, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report online child sexual exploitation, use the electronic Cyber Tip Line or call 1-800-843-5678. The Cyber Tip Line is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in partnership with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.